Chicago Blackhawks Midseason Review: When Can We Truly Evaluate Head Coach Luke Richardson?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Instead of trying to fix the impotent offense over the All-Star break, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson is sipping wine somewhere in Napa Valley.

With Connor Bedard on injured reserve probably through the rest of this month and a roster ravaged by injuries, who can blame him?

You see the hardcore take would be how could a head coach with a team sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings and in the middle of a 20-game road losing streak want to take in the best red and white wine Napa has to offer during the All-Star break?

The realistic take is the season was lost the moment Taylor Hall went down for the season, Corey Perry was released because of a workplace issue, and almost the entire blue line was on injured reserve in December. Oh, and then almost the entire forward group was on IR in January.

So go and enjoy some reds and exercise in Napa, Luke.

We also need to remember Richardson has been given rosters designed to lose on purpose.

Last year the goal was to tank for Connor Bedard with the hope the lottery odds would be in the team's favor.

Even with Bedard this season, the roster was constructed in a way that it had fringe hopes of making the playoffs. Realistically, even if it was fully healthy, the Blackhawks would still be in the NHL Draft Lottery conversation more than the playoff talk.

This team was filled with third and fourth-line players on short-term deals while the prospects developed their games at the AHL, college, or junior level. Some young players were also sprinkled in on the NHL team and they were being asked to play major roles.

That is going to add up to a try-hard team, but if there is not enough elite talent, then trying hard can only carry you so far.